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Takeaways From Creighton’s 81-55 Win Over South Dakota

by Nov 10, 2023Creighton Womens Basketball

Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Creighton women’s basketball won its first home game of the season, improving to 2-0 with a blowout win over South Dakota.

The No. 22 Bluejays opened on a 7-0 run and shot 68.8% from the floor in the first quarter. The Coyotes put up more of a fight during the second quarter and parts of the third, but the difference never got closer than 10 points after the opening period. 

Here are three takeaways from the 81-55 win for the Bluejays. 

Morgan Maly drops 30

In Morgan Maly’s first game at D.J. Sokol Arena this season, she scored 28 points in an exhibition win, missing three shots.

On Friday, she played a home game that actually counted, and once again put on a show for Bluejay fans. She matched her career-high with a 30-point output on 10-for-19 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds. Six of her makes came from beyond the arc.

“They were sagging off of me the whole game, even when I did start to make some shots,” Maly said of the South Dakota defense. “So, I was like, ‘OK, I’ll just stay out here, and if the ball keeps going in, I’ll just keep doing it.’”

Maly had 10 points in the first quarter, taking that number into the break after missing all four of her second-quarter shot attempts. When the team started the second half slow, she picked it back up, hitting a midrange jumper and a 3 to push the lead from 10 back to 15. 

Later in the period, she hit back-to-back 3s to help power a 14-0 Bluejay run. She scored 13 points in the third quarter, while South Dakota managed 11 as a team in the period.

It was a good bounce-back showing for Maly after she shot 3-for-12 in the season opener. Along with her scoring, she passed and defended well, recording two blocks. 

Transition Offense Thrives

South Dakota called a timeout less than two minutes into Friday’s game, mainly because its defense had been burnt in transition on three consecutive possessions. 

The Coyotes won the tip and missed a 4 on their first possession of the game, and the Bluejays responded fast. Lauren Jensen corralled the rebound and pushed it to Molly Mogensen, who found Emma Ronsiek running down the floor for an open layup. 

South Dakota followed that up with a turnover, and despite an initially decent defensive recovery in transition, the Bluejays found Maly trailing the play for her first 3 of the game. Maly then made a play on the other end, blocking a shot and throwing an outlet pass to Mogensen. That resulted in another easy bucket, as Mogensen passed ahead to Mallory Brake for the layup.

The defensive effort and running of the floor by the team’s forwards sparked the early lead, and it helped once again in the third quarter. Creighton’s aforementioned 14-0 run included three steals leading directly to buckets. 

Jensen had two in a row, assisting on fast-break layups by Brake and Jayme Horan. Kiani Lockett capped the run by deflecting a pass at the top of the arc and taking it all the way to the rim. 

All of that success was perhaps equal parts caused by impressive defensive effort from Creighton and South Dakota’s self-inflicted struggles getting back on defense. Regardless, the opportunities were there, and the Bluejays took advantage. 

Mallory Brake Fitting in with Starters

With the offseason departures of Carly Bachelor and Rachael Saunders, Creighton head coach Jim Flanery turned to senior forward Mallory Brake to fill the hole in the starting lineup. 

Through two games, that has worked smoothly. Although she had 10 points today, she’s not necessarily going to be asked to score a bunch for the Bluejays. In the season opener, she took one shot in 19 minutes on the floor. 

Brake’s value comes just about everywhere else. She’s been a star on the defensive end, totaling three blocks and six steals in the first two games. 

Flanery credited Brake for slowing down Grace Larkins, who averaged 17.5 points per game last season but made just two of 11 shot attempts on Friday. 

She also has contributed offensively outside of putting the ball in the basket. Brake has seven assists on the year with no turnovers, along with pulling down eight offensive rebounds. Six of those boards came on Friday. 

“She knows how many different ways she can help us that don’t involve scoring,” Flanery said.  

Brake has come along offensively, her head coach said, and the forward understands her role well. She said the talented offensive lineup around her helps with that. 

“Kind of takes the pressure off me offensively, I know I don’t have to do the most there,” Brake said. “My focus really is being on the glass and defensively, locking up whoever I’m guarding.”